FINE COMPANY: Begon (centre), Balboa and Lewis (far left), with Peters (right) and Saint models Kim Gordon and Shaneke Guyher.
What: The Launch of the Elite Model Look Caribbean (Jamaica) 2011
Where: The dazzling Valencia Suite of the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston
When: Thursday evening
Guest List: The event drew a sizeable mix of fashion industry players, magazine editors, lifestyle writers, aspiring models and socialites, as well as media and members of the local cultural community. Spotted hob-nobbing with Jean-Pierre Begon (VP, Elite International), John Bilboa (Director, Elite Latin and South America) and Derrick Lewis (Founder/Director, ISLANDPeople) were the likes of Kingsley Cooper, Yendi Phillipps, Deiwght Peters, Kay Osborne, Carlette DeLeon and Keneea Linton-George.
The evening’s highlights: Phillipps made an engaging host, witty and sparkling in a bejeweled little blue dress paired with sky-reaching pumps; Lewis, during his address on the region’s impact on international style, certainly got it right in citing Rihanna and Nicki Minaj as Caribbean women who have ascended to the influential status of trailblazers in global style. Lady Gaga, he observed, is the Grace Jones of her generation.
If you’ve got ‘the look’…: Elite Model Look Caribbean is an annual regional search, where 20 girls will be selected to participate in an upcoming final in Trinidad on November. The top three finishers will then be given the chance to compete at the grand international finals in December for over US$325, 000 in modelling contracts. “We are looking for models with real potential, and the three best girls will go through,” notes Begon. Local castings are set for October 1-2 in Kingston and Montego Bay. Girls aged 14-22 years are eligible to enter.
The ultimate vision: Both Balboa and Lewis agree that the Elite initiative is a wonderful avenue for developing our young women into confident global citizens and for shining the spotlight on the region as a hub of world-class beauty. “This [model search] has the potential to develop the region into a major player on the international beauty circuit,” Balboa said. “We believe that together we will make a difference by joining forces to showcase the Caribbean to the world.” Lewis, who is the Caribbean franchise holder, announced his intention to introduce the Elite Academy to the region within the next 18 months. (Go to elitemodellook.com for more info).
WATCH: Begon explains why Elite International represents solely female models: